Tag Archives: beauty

The Scarlett Letter

Is there any balm in Gilead? Tell me, truly, I implore.

Quoth the Raven, nevermore.

*

“Tomorrow will be a very special day.” Heather informed Penny as she tamed her unruly white curls. The reflection of mother and daughter flickered in the mirror, for Heather preferred light by candles, and the result was an atmosphere continually muted and dimmed.  “Tomorrow is your seventh birthday.”

“It isn’t!” cried Penny, her head quivering indignantly. “It is my four hundredth!”

Heather felt a slight shiver slide down her spine, but she brushed the feeling aside as she brushed Penny’s hair. “What a silly thing to say.” She murmured, her expression fixed and calm. “You were born seven years ago. I was present at your birth, after all.”

“You were not.” Insisted Penny, and her eyes snapped with quizzical excitement. “I sprang five hundred years ago from the blackest forest mud, as a daisy or a white, white rose; and you found me and keep me here for, I don’t know why.”

Heather tilted her head and considered what she ought next to say.

“And you are not my mother.” continued Penny curtly. “Vous n’etez pas ma mere. You also sprang from that black ground, and the dark man on the platform did also. For we are all made of the same dirt on the ground, and came from the same secluded spot, and we all have the same soul.” Penny turned her head round so she could find her mother’s eyes. “But your rose is not white. It is red.”

Heather sternly turned Penny’s head to face the mirror and continued fixing her hair.

“What a silly thing to say.” She murmered lightly, with no strain except in her eyes. “Are you Anaximander, to claim to spring spontaneously from the mud? When you speak such silliness, I doubt that you could be my daughter.”

Vous n’etez pas ma mere.” Penny insisted.

“Cannot you say “Tu n’es pas ma mere?” Heather questioned, giving her daughter a teasing tap. “At any rate, whether you are seven years old or four hundred, tomorrow I would like to play a game.

“We are always playing games.” Penny reminded her tiredly.

“Hush. This is what you must promise: you must be very quiet, well behaved and obedient; essentially entirely different from your normal self. No matter what happens, you must obey mother. The more obedient you are, the more points you receive, and if you get the most points, you will win. But if you are bad and mean and disobedient, you will get no points and you will lose the game miserably. Do you understand?”

Heather knew her daughter’s competitive spirit. Penny determined to win more points than her mother, and Heather knew that she would be well-behaved.

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The Morning After

Was she thy god,

Superior, or but equal?

That to her thou didst

Resign thy manhood?

Paradise Lost

I wonder how Adam looked at Eve the morning after they became as gods.

Perhaps she slept passed him, turned, for the first time, from his face.

Perhaps she woke first, and had moved away, shaking determined mud from her drying hair.

Perhaps Adam thought of yesterday’s decision. perhaps with clouded eyes he remembered glossy tears glistening, grinding into his nerves,

Perhaps he remembered a flawless form, a frightful look fretting he would leave her,

That insistent whisper that he must have her, if in desolation,  in hell.

Now a rotting apple lay at his feet, a symbol of the birth of progress.

The decision was done,

The morning was come,

And with steady sternness he searched for that immeasurable elegance that determined his choice.

Now he could see the chips of her painted nails,

The smears of her painted face,

The roots of her painted hair.

When Eve returned, his eyes were closed, as if in sleep, but really in disguise, hiding disgust, or fright, or despair,

To find his perfect idol flawed and defected, to have sold his soul for a gilded goddess and to wake to receive a poked paper doll,

Leah’s veil removed,

And reflection without respite

For eternity.

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Cleopatra

By the twitching of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

Macbeth.

2. Cleopatra

Cleopatra, shining bright

Shiver, shiver in the light

Babalonic, touch your hair

Subtle goddess, supple sight.

Cleopatra, do they stare?

Crystal ball, dynamic pair.

Quelle a flickered in your eyes?

Dripping, drinking, drunk despair.

Cleopatra, do they sigh?

Moan and murmur, cut and cry?

Liver, lover, lashes cold

Twitching touches, lowered eyes.

Cleopatra, worship gold

Egypt’s blanket, baked and sold

Slipping silver, sell your soul

Faustus whispers, “never old.”

Cleopatra has the hole

Black and burning, dismal, dole

Ankles locking, fingers fold

Hollow love, complete and cold.

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